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Cerebrovasc Dis. 2009;27(3):254-8. doi: 10.1159/000196824. Epub 2009 Jan 29.

Utilization of intravenous tissue plasminogen activator for ischemic stroke: are there sex differences?

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Section of Chronic Disease Epidemiology, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn. 06520-8034, USA.



We evaluated whether there were sex-related differences in the administration of intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (IV-tPA) to patients with acute ischemic stroke admitted to US academic medical centers.


Medical records were abstracted for consecutive ischemic stroke patients admitted to 32 academic medical centers from January through June, 2004, as part of the University HealthSystem Consortium Ischemic Stroke Benchmarking Project. Multivariate logistic models were used to test for sex-related differences in the receipt of IV-tPA with adjustment for demographic and clinical factors.


The study included 1,234 patients (49% women; mean age 66.6 years; 56% white). IV-tPA was given to 7% (6.5% of women versus 7.5% of men, p = 0.49). Women and men were equally likely to receive IV-tPA in risk-adjusted analyses (OR 1.02, 95% CI 0.64-1.64). Approximately 77% of women and men who did not receive IV-tPA did not meet the 3-hour treatment window or their time of onset was unknown.


Women admitted to academic hospitals receive IV-tPA as often as men; however, a substantial percentage of both women and men are not arriving within the 3-hour time window required for diagnostic assessment and administration of intravenous thrombolytic therapy. Additional efforts are needed to improve the rapid identification, evaluation and treatment of stroke patients.

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